(NOTE for non-regular readers or readers outside of Livejournal: this week's topic for the writing contest I'm in is "We are all in the gutter")
The gutter. For a while, it felt like where I'd been since Aug 25th of this year.
It started with a phone call as my boyfriend and I were leaving to go to our dentist appointments. I got let go from my restaurant job of 3+ years for reasons I still don't know or understand. Simply told "owner's decision". Personally, I think that decision was based on my age considering what took my place in the wake of my departure & the fact that it happened a week after my birthday. That's a very typical L.A. thing to do & well, you can get away with it in an "at-will" employment state like California.
Everyone told me "oh with your resume & experience, you'll have a job by the end of the week". It's now almost 2 months later, I still don't have a steady job. The casual/chain restaurants tell me that I'm overqualified, the fine dining places tell me that i'm under qualified. I'm stuck in limbo. I have freelance catering gigs, audience work (where you get paid to be in a tv show audience) & stuff like that. Nine times out of ten, you are treated so crappily by the people in charge at these type of things, you leave at night with your self-esteem in the gutter. I did get approved for unemployment, but they are giving me shit for picking up these freelance gigs and also for applying for restaurant jobs when I have 2 college degrees.
Things didn't stop there. When it rains, it pours and the gutter was filling with water. My 20-something cousin disappeared (as far as I know she is still missing...well doesn't want to be found), has a serious drug problem & is violating her probation. My car died....twice. At the sum of about $1000. Desperate for money to fix my car (a necessity in L.A.), I took to crowdfunding in the form of a GoFundMe account (I've raised about 40% of my goal so far....my own brother shunned me in a rather passive-aggressive manner which is pretty telling, but that's a rant for another time and place. I have learned that there are people in L.A. who I have known WAY less who are WAY more family to me than he is.)
On top of the degrading jobs, I now had to deal with this. One of the lower points was when I, a grown woman, had to swallow my pride & ask my mother for financial help to pay my rent (something i might have to do this month as well....to which, she told me "family takes care of each other"...too bad she didn't instill that value in my brother). Sometimes, I would just come home from a fruitless day of job searching, lay on the couch and cry...cry is an understatement. I would bawl, hard. Depressed. No, I wasn't suicidal, but my thoughts were getting pretty dark for a while. I thought I was a failure at life. Thankfully, i had friends who cared enough to pull me off that road.
Then my boyfriend, who had become the main breadwinner for our household, came down with kidney stones. Sadly, I had to turn down a job interview in order to rush him to urgent care. He's going to be fine, but the next day....Sept 25 (1 month since I lost my job), he got let go from his bartending job (the place botched its opening, they had to cut hours).
Now we were really IN the gutter. WE'RE in the gutter. We're both jobless. We're living off what's in our fridge/pantry. Scraping together change for gas money to go to job interviews.
He's lucky, though, he worked for a well-known chef's restaurant. He found a job in like 10 days...actually for his old manager at that restaurant who is now at a new place. Me? i'm still jobless. Not all is bad though....I've been blessed with a guest star role on a non-union cable pilot. I did so well on it that the casting director booked me on a co-star role for another non-union cable show she also cast (I film it tomorrow). I rode the wave of these 2 roles to land a tv/film agent (otherwise known as a theatrical agent). So, at least things are looking up on the acting front.
Also, I have learned that people who really care about you will pull you out of the gutter. They will donate to your crowd funding, they will help you with job leads, they will take you out for a drink or dinner so you can just get out of the house, they will just text or call to check on you.
We're all in the gutter at some time in our life....lose a job, have someone get sick/die, suffer a broken heart, etc. It's the people around us who determine how deep that gutter is, how dirty it is & how fast we get out of it.
I am truly blessed with the friends & non-blood family that I have in L.A. & with that being said, I hope you are as truly blessed by those around you if/when you find yourself in a life gutter.